The mystery. Xiaguan Tuo cha produced at unknown time (possibly for export to France, by the packaging?). Bought at a store here in the US - has been on the shelf there in box for at least 2 years.
Same Xiaguan product line, Guang puts the vintage at 85-88. Dry stored in the box.
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php? ... 2283458bdc
I tasted both of these and my notes will go here for posterity.
Both were sampled in the same pot, roughly 5oz, with a 5g chunk of tea with one flash rinse.
Hou De's Jia Ji:
At this point I would call this "extremely" dry stored. It would be interesting to have a "control" - a very young vintage of this same recipe.
The tuo from Hou De has slowly mellowed rather than undergoing a transformative aging. Wood, camphor are not present. 2nd infusion finds a small amount of qi, which soon disappears. This is not honey sweet like the 03 Keyixing Yiwu, but it is at a similar stage of mellowing. Mouthfeel is not especially long here. Color mirrors the keyixing, a few shades more orange than a young sheng's amber, but no sign of red.
Aging is greatly slowed by the box and dry storage conditions. After some thinking, BBB tells me this is his experience with othered boxed tuos as well.
This is a very pleasant tea that I enjoyed for 6 infusions, but it is an uncharacteristic representation of a sheng of its age.
Mystery Tuo Cha
Oh man. This tea has taken a completely different journey than the tuo I just mentioned. Wood and camphor are instantly recognizable. The minty mouthfeel is lasting and pleasant. Infusions are a much darker red. No mustiness or other signs of wet storage. Missing are any other unpleasant notes that turn me off from most adolescent (10-15 years) sheng.
Shot in the dark, I would place this in the mid 90's. AMAZING find for $8/250g, I have paid much more for small samples of aged sheng that I enjoyed less. Congrats on the find, Ellen. Enjoy this one.